Monday, November 17, 2008

Opelika, AL: Change for a Time

Miles since last blog: 16


Unbeknownst to my travel partner or I, we, in addition to crossing a state line last night, crossed into a new time zone. Had I known I would surely have done a small jig at least, it's a pretty exciting thing to have traversed a time zone on foot. Not to mention the practical value of this. My parents and friends in places to the west are now an hour closer to my time which makes phone calls easier. I also have gained back the hour of light that I had lost during the time change a few weeks back which is excellent. And something else very important I'm sure to remember just after I turn off my computer.

This is not the only change however. As I felt when I entered Georgia, entering Alabama seems to be a shade more Southern. People talk just a little bit slower, are just a tad more friendly, and the land is a bit more sparsely populated leaving my walks just to me in ways that are usually reserved for night walks.

Today in the morning I passed by a school where someone had apparently seen me up the road. They asked me to come up and take pictures with the children. About thirty little kids crowded around me and I felt a little bit like Indiana Jones in the beginning of Temple of Doom. They offered me water and gave me delicious snack cakes and the kids jumped up and down and cheered at everything, even planes flying in the sky. I wondered if I could remember a time of such pure and simple joy.

It made me think of my high school biology teacher talking about throwing his jacket in the air and catching it on the way home from the bus after the rain. He said he felt sorry for us because we lived in a world where we would never experience those carefree moments, we already knew too much and had too many worries. These kids didn't and it made me smile to see them. On a good day walking I can get those moments back for a few seconds, today was one of those days.